The RAMP Rules - Let's Clear Some Things Up

If you’re a liquor establishment owner or operator in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, there’s no way you haven’t heard about RAMP (repeatedly). But we also know that there’s a difference between RAMP Certification (for the business itself) and RAMP Training (for the individual server/sellers and included personnel, e.g. bouncers, doormen, distributors, etc).

Now, this is where this can - and does! - get a little confusing.

The real story is this: at ALL times, 100% of your staff needs to be trained. You have 6 months to train new licensees, and employees hired before August 8, 2016 are grandfathered in (as long as they are still working for the same licensee), but all other eligible personnel MUST be RAMP trained.

What Do The Rules Say?

PLCB states “Act 141 of 2000 established the Responsible Alcohol Management Program (RAMP), a voluntary certification that provides incentives for licensees that participate and complete all five components: Owner/Manager Training, Server/Seller Training, New Employee Orientation, Signage and Affidavit Request for RAMP Certification.”

Under “Server/Seller Training”, the PLCB also states: “At least 50 percent of the licensee's alcohol service staff must be trained before certification can be granted. This percentage must be maintained at all times.”

THIS is where it gets tricky. So, businesses often ask… “Only half my staff really has to be trained at any time, correct?”

No. 100 % of your eligible staff MUST be trained and currently compliant.

Important Distinctions

PLCB states: “NOTE: 2016 Liquor Code changes now require that anyone hired on or after Aug. 8, 2016, who serves or sells alcoholic beverages and/or checks IDs – including bartenders, waiters, beer distributor sales persons, bouncers, doorpersons, etc. – must complete RAMP server/seller training within six months of being hired by a licensee, unless the person successfully completed RAMP server/seller training prior to being hired.”

That means whether you’re going for your RAMP Certification or just running a PLCB - compliant business, EVERY eligible worker must get trained and stay trained. If even a couple (or one!) eligible employee is out of compliance, your whole business is at risk.

If you start to feel comfortable using that six month window, remember this game changing fact. If a violation occurs at your establishment within that six month time - and the employee involved has NOT completed RAMP training, there is no relief from possible penalties/fines, etc. This is a big deal, and not a risk you really want to take.

The safest way to do it (and by far the most widely practiced) is for employers to request employees take their RAMP training before they even start work.

For employees who fall under the “grandfather clause” (they were employed before August 8, 2016) they are only exempt from RAMP training IF they continue to work for the same licensee they were working for prior to the regulation change. So for example, the business changes ownership - now the clock resets and ALL eligible employees must be trained, even the ones who’ve been there for years.


So here’s the deal. RAMP Certification for your business has slightly different compliance rules than RAMP Server/Seller training for your staff. Don’t confuse the two (because it is confusing). To be safe, just remember that at ALL times, 100% of your staff needs to be trained. You have 6 months to train new licensees (and hope that employee doesn’t incur a violation in that timeframe), and employees hired before August 8, 2016 are grandfathered in (as long as the licensee hasn’t changed), but all other eligible personnel MUST be RAMP trained.

If you have any questions at all concerning RAMP Certification or RAMP Server/Seller Training, we’re here to make your life (and your business) worry-free. We’re currently offering a FREE 15-minute telephone consultation with our Compliance Expert, in which you can talk about anything and everything RAMP related, and get solid business advice. No Strings Attached. You can grab this opportunity just by clicking here and reserving a calendar spot, or fill out the form below to have us call you directly. Either way is fine - and it’s up to you! is the largest and most widely used online RAMP Server/Seller training provider in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, with over 75,000 people trained. Our team collectively has over 25 years of regulatory compliance training experience and 95% of our users pass the RAMP course on the first attempt. We’re experts in the industry and we’re here to help you and your business succeed.

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